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The Children of Hurin

The Children of Hurin

4.1 214
by J. R. R. Tolkien, Alan Lee (Illustrator), Christopher Tolkien (Editor), Alan Lee (Illustrator)

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After long study of the various manuscripts that composed this early tale of Middle-Earth, Christopher Tolkien has constructed a coherent and epic narrative that composes a crucial part of his father’s literary oeuvre. In the great country that lay beyond the Grey Havens in the West following the great cataclysm that ended the First Age of the World, Morgoth—the first Dark Lord—dwelt in the vast fortress of Angband, the Hells of Iron. As he waged war against the lands and secret cities of the Elves, the tragedy of Túrin and his sister Nienor unfolds. Their brief and passionate lives are dominated by the elemental hatred that Morgoth bears them as the children of Húrin, the man who had dared to defy and to scorn him to his face. Against them Morgoth sends his most formidable servant, Glaurung, a powerful spirit in the form of a huge wingless dragon of fire. Sardonic and mocking, Glaurung manipulates the fates of Túrin and Nienor by lies of diabolic cunning and guile, and the curse of Morgoth is fulfilled. Unabridged and read by Christopher Lee—the actor who portrayed Saruman in the film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings trilogy—this is a gripping story of Elves and Men, dragons and Dwarves, and struggle and revenge.

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
For fantasy fans young and old, the much-anticipated release of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Children of Húrin (begun in 1918 and never fully completed) is like the unearthing of a long-lost holy book. The dark, wartorn epic of love and loss, set in the First Age of Middle-earth, is one of Tolkien's three Great Tales of the Elder Days (along with Beren and Lúthien and the Fall of Gondolin), and according to Christopher Tolkien in the novel's preface, it is "integral" to understanding the complex history of Elves and Men in Middle-earth.

While fighting side by side with Elven allies against the evil Morgoth and his minions of Orcs, Húrin Thalion -- one of the greatest warriors of the First Age -- is captured and brought back to Morgoth's stronghold, where the Great Enemy places a curse, a "dark doom," on the hero and his offspring. Imprisoned atop a mountain peak, Húrin is forced to witness the horrific ordeals that beset his son Túrin and his daughter Nienor…

Easily the most monumental publishing event of 2007, The Children of Húrin is an absolute must-read for fans of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, as well as for genre historians and fantasy aficionados alike. Featuring spectacular illustrations from the legendary Alan Lee, Tolkien's oldest -- and arguably darkest -- Middle-earth tale is replete with grand-scale adventure, awe-inspiring magic, and one the most unforgettably heroic (and tragic) story lines genre fans will ever experience. This heartrending tale of Túrin and Nienor will undoubtedly become one of the most popular chronicles of Middle-earth. Classic Tolkien. Paul Goat Allen
Elizabeth Hand
If anyone still labors under the delusion that J. R. R. Tolkien was a writer of twee fantasies for children, this novel should set them straight. A bleak, darkly beautiful tale played out against the background of the First Age of Tolkien's Middle Earth, The Children of Hurin possesses the mythic resonance and grim sense of inexorable fate found in Greek tragedy.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

What could be more apropos than hiring the face of Sauron from The Lord of the Rings to read Tolkien's newly complete version of these pre-Ringstales? Christopher Lee, the British actor beloved for his role in Peter Jackson's trilogy as well as his numerous turns in Hammer fright films, reads Tolkien's Ringsprecursor as if still in full makeup. Booming and vaguely menacing, Lee sounds like Sauron around the campfire, entertaining his minions with a tale of adventure and woe. Even Lee cannot sound entirely convincing bellowing some of Tolkien's invented languages, but his reading is suitably ominous. Tolkien's son, Christopher, who edited his father's book, also contributes a preface and introduction he reads himself. His voice-phlegmy and rough-provides a taste of what it might have sounded like had the author himself been available to read his own work. Simultaneous release with the Houghton Mifflin hardcover (reviewed online). (Dec.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Read by Lee in delightfully melancholy and beautifully sonorous tones.

Library Journal

Drawing on a manuscript that his father began in 1918 and reworked throughout his life, Christopher Tolkien, who has edited 14 posthumous volumes of his dad's work, spent decades shaping the story's many drafts into this final form, which was released in a beautiful, illustrated hardcover in April 2007. HarperCollinsUK Audiobooks has kept that same spirit, and this audio version is equally alluring, featuring a booklet sporting all of the book's illustrations by Tolkien artist Alan Lee and a fold-out map of Middle-earth, as well as an introduction read by the younger Tolkien. Equally glorious is the reading by actor Christopher Lee, already associated with Tolkien through his performance as Saruman in the Lord of the Rings films. His deep voice brings the proper sense of woe to this dark tale. A nice extra is hearing the proper pronunciation of the player and place names in the author's mythical world. Set centuries before Rings, the plot unfurls the lives of Túrin and Niënor, son and daughter to Húrin, a great warrior held captive by Morgoth, the Dark Lord, whose malice dooms his enemy's children as well. Highly recommended.
—Michael Rogers

School Library Journal

Adult/High School -While much of the material here was published posthumously in books like The Silmarillion (1985) and Unfinished Tales (1988, both Del Rey), Tolkien delivered it in a loosely connected way that made it difficult to read. Edited by his son, this new volume draws from both of these earlier sources to pull together a complete single narrative set in pre-Hobbit Middle Earth. Túrin, son of the human lord Húrin and the elven lady Morwen, becomes a pivotal force in the ongoing battle against evil in an epic adventure full of intrigue and clever battle scenes. The early parts of the story focus on Túrin's young life. As an adult, he is wrongly judged for the death of an elf and banished for the rest of his life. He manages to become the leader of a ragtag band of forest outlaws that cause no end of problems for forces of evil trying to usurp the kingdom. Túrin is charismatic, brave, cocky, and as equally skilled at getting into trouble as he is at getting out of it. Lee's black-and-white drawings and full-color paintings come from the traditions of fantasy illustration and offer dramatic visuals throughout the book. The language and vocabulary, especially in the dialogue, might intimidate casual readers, but ambitious fans of fantasy will find a work that reminds them why we continue to place Tolkien at the zenith of fantasy literature after so many years.-Matthew L. Moffett, Pohick Regional Library, Burke, VA

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
All your old T-shirts and bumper stickers inscribed "Frodo Lives" may have to be replaced. Old Hobbits do die hard-but there are none even born yet in this reconstructed tale of Middle Earth during the Elder Days (i.e., thousands of years prior to events immortalized in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy). Begun in 1918, revised several times, never published (though a capsule version of its narrative appears as a chapter in the posthumously published volume The Silmarillion), this appealing yarn is very nearly vintage Tolkien. To be sure, Middle Earth is under siege early in its history. The reigning villain is Dark Lord Morgoth (Sauron is merely one of his lieutenants), a demonic sort who rules a huge northern fortress ringed by mountains and destroys his enemies through the focused power of his malevolent will-more often than not incarnated in the figure of Glaurung, an exceedingly nasty "dragon of fire." Their vengeful energies seek out two inordinately plucky youngsters-stalwart Turin and his beautiful sister Nienor-who share the curse pronounced on their father Hurin, an intrepid Elfin warrior who had brazenly defied Morgoth. The episodic narrative takes off when Hurin leaves his sister and their mother Morwen (a veritable Penelope patiently awaiting her Ulysses's return) to undertake a series of adventures that involve him with a brawling band of outlaws, the memorable Battle of Unnumbered Tears against what seem innumerable hordes of invading Orcs-remember them?), a duplicitous dwarf who offers the "shelter" of his underground stronghold and a terrific climactic encounter with the . . . uh, inflamed Glaurung. Strong echoes of the Finnish epic Kalevala, the tales of Robin Hood,Homeric epic and the matter of Wagnerian opera charge the text with complexity as well as vigor. And introductory and textual notes provided by the volume's editor, Tolkien's son Christopher, add welcome clarification. A fine addition to a deservedly well-loved body of work.
From the Publisher
"It has seemed to me for a long time that there was a good case for presenting my father's long version of the legend of the Children of Húrin as an independent work" Christopher Tolkien“The Children of Hurin is about to thrill and intrigue millions. It is safe to say that the 'great tale' of Turin is about to become a global myth…in its own dotty but also awe-inspiring way, it works.” Sunday Times Culture“…worthy of a readership beyond Tolkien devotees…this book deserves to eclipse all his other posthumous writings, and stand as a worthy memorial to the imagination of Tolkien.' The Times“I hope that its universality and power will grant it a place in English mythology'… It isn't jolly, but then neither is Anthony and Cleopatra.” The Independent on Sunday
From the Publisher - AUDIO COMMENTARY
"It has seemed to me for a long time that there was a good case for presenting my father's long version of the legend of the Children of Húrin as an independent work" Christopher Tolkien“The Children of Hurin is about to thrill and intrigue millions. It is safe to say that the 'great tale' of Turin is about to become a global myth…in its own dotty but also awe-inspiring way, it works.” Sunday Times Culture“…worthy of a readership beyond Tolkien devotees…this book deserves to eclipse all his other posthumous writings, and stand as a worthy memorial to the imagination of Tolkien.' The Times“I hope that its universality and power will grant it a place in English mythology'… It isn't jolly, but then neither is Anthony and Cleopatra.” The Independent on Sunday

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
History of Middle-Earth Series , #13
Edition description:
British Edition, not for sale in the U.S
Product dimensions:
5.87(w) x 8.98(h) x (d)

Read an Excerpt

Hador Goldenhead was a lord of the Edain and wellbeloved by the Eldar. He dwelt while his days lasted under the lordship of Fingolfin, who gave to him wide lands in that region of Hithlum which was called Dor-lómin. His daughter Glóredhel wedded Haldir son of Halmir, lord of the Men of Brethil; and at the same feast his son Galdor the Tall wedded Hareth, the daughter of Halmir.

Galdor and Hareth had two sons, Húrin and Huor. Húrin was by three years the elder, but he was shorter in stature than other men of his kin; in this he took after his mother’s people, but in all else he was like Hador, his grandfather, strong in body and fiery of mood. But the fire in him burned steadily, and he had great endurance of will. Of all Men of the North he knew most of the counsels of the Noldor. Huor his brother was tall, the tallest of all the Edain save his own son Tuor only, and a swift runner; but if the race were long and hard Húrin would be the first home, for he ran as strongly at the end of the course as at the beginning. There was great love between the brothers, and they were seldom apart in their youth.

Húrin wedded Morwen, the daughter of Baragund son of Bregolas of the House of Bëor; and she was thus of close kin to Beren One-hand. Morwen was dark-haired and tall, and for the light of her glance and the beauty of her face men called her Eledhwen, the elven-fair; but she was somewhat stern of mood and proud. The sorrows of the House of Bëor saddened her heart; for she came as an exile to Dorlómin from Dorthonion after the ruin of the Bragollach.

Túrin was the name of the eldest child of Húrin and Morwen, and he was born in that year in which Beren came to Doriath and found Lúthien Tinúviel, Thingol’s daughter. Morwen bore a daughter also to Húrin, and she was named Urwen; but she was called Lalaith, which is Laughter, by all that knew her in her short life.

Huor wedded Rían, the cousin of Morwen; she was the daughter of Belegund son of Bregolas. By hard fate was she born into such days, for she was gentle of heart and loved neither hunting nor war. Her love was given to trees and to the flowers of the wild, and she was a singer and a maker of songs. Two months only had she been wedded to Huor when he went with his brother to the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, and she never saw him again.

But now the tale returns to Húrin and Huor in the days of their youth. It is said that for a while the sons of Galdor dwelt in Brethil as foster-sons of Haldir their uncle, after the custom of Northern men in those days. They often went to battle with the Men of Brethil against the Orcs, who now harried the northern borders of their land; for Húrin, though only seventeen years of age, was strong, and Huor the younger was already as tall as most full-grown men of that people.

On a time Húrin and Huor went with a company of scouts, but they were ambushed by the Orcs and scattered, and the brothers were pursued to the ford of Brithiach. There they would have been taken or slain but for the power of Ulmo that was still strong in the waters of Sirion; and it is said that a mist arose from the river and hid them from their enemies, and they escaped over the Brithiach into Dimbar. There they wandered in great hardship among the hills beneath the sheer walls of the Crissaegrim, until they were bewildered in the deceits of that land and knew not the way to go on or to return. There Thorondor espied them, and he sent two of his Eagles to their aid; and the Eagles bore them up and brought them beyond the Encircling Mountains to the secret vale of Tumladen and the hidden city of Gondolin, which no Man had yet seen.

There Turgon the King received them well, when he learned of their kin; for Hador was an Elf-friend, and Ulmo, moreover, had counselled Turgon to deal kindly with the sons of that House, from whom help should come to him at need. Húrin and Huor dwelt as guests in the King’s house for well nigh a year; and it is said that in this time Húrin, whose mind was swift and eager, gained much lore of the Elves, and learned also something of the counsels and purposes of the King. For Turgon took great liking for the sons of Galdor, and spoke much with them; and he wished indeed to keep them in Gondolin out of love, and not only for his law that no stranger, be he Elf or Man, who found the way to the secret kingdom or looked upon the city should ever depart again, until the King should open the leaguer, and the hidden people should come forth.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"It has seemed to me for a long time that there was a good case for presenting my father's long version of the legend of the Children of Húrin as an independent work" Christopher Tolkien“The Children of Hurin is about to thrill and intrigue millions. It is safe to say that the 'great tale' of Turin is about to become a global myth…in its own dotty but also awe-inspiring way, it works.” Sunday Times Culture“…worthy of a readership beyond Tolkien devotees…this book deserves to eclipse all his other posthumous writings, and stand as a worthy memorial to the imagination of Tolkien.' The Times“I hope that its universality and power will grant it a place in English mythology'… It isn't jolly, but then neither is Anthony and Cleopatra.” The Independent on Sunday

Meet the Author

J.R.R. Tolkien was born on 3rd January 1892. After serving in the First World War, he became best known for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, selling 150 million copies in more than 40 languages worldwide. Awarded the CBE and an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Oxford University, he died in 1973 at the age of 81.Christopher Tolkien, born on 21st November 1924, is the third son of J.R.R. Tolkien. A pilot during the Second World War, he later lectured on early English and northern literature at New College, Oxford, becoming a Fellow and Tutor in 1964. Appointed by J.R.R. Tolkien to be his literary executor, he has devoted himself to the publication of his father’s unpublished writings, notably The Silmarillion and The History of Middle-earth. He lives in France with his wife Baillie.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
January 3, 1892
Date of Death:
September 2, 1973
Place of Birth:
Bloemfontein, Orange Free State (South Africa)
Place of Death:
Oxford, England
B.A., Exeter College, Oxford University, 1915; M.A., 1919

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The Children of Hurin 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 214 reviews.
Garren More than 1 year ago
I will begin by saying this is far from a feel-good riece of literature as the heroes of this story undergo a number of grueling trials that result in unhappy endings, often brought upon them by their own flaws and errors in judgment. But it is still a grand adventure involving a great warrior fighting in a darkness wrought by Morgoth, an enemy to whom Sauron was only a lieutenant.

The writing is closer to The Silmarillion in style than The Lord of the Rings, but still bears Tolkien¿s unparalleled gift for description, dialogue, and philosophy. It is easily one of my favorite books but I would only recommend it to fans of Tolkien as it would be difficult, even impossible, for newcomers to Middle Earth to appreciate or understand.
Ic3cr3amman33 More than 1 year ago
I thought that this was a very entertaining book. I found myself wanting to reach the next page. However, the book is very grim and is full of surprises that leave you distraught. The book is written so well that you can feel the sadness that is happening and it adds greatly to the effect it has on you. Also, there is a lot of action in the book. Time and time again Turin is faced with a new enemy. When this happened I became eager to find out how the battle turns out because in the book you never know when it can take a turn for the worse. At times I found the book hard to read because of the numerous names and places that were so unfamiliar. If you get confused to the extent that you can no longer understand the story anymore, there are pages in the back of the book where you can find answers. I think this is a great read and extremely interesting. I would recommend this to people without hesitation.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Set in the first age of Middle Earth, The Children Of Hurin recounts the life of Turin, Hurin¿s son. Nearly 7,000 years before the Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit, men and elves struggle against Morgoth, the enemy who has placed a curse on Hurin¿s family. Raised as a fosterling by a king of elves, Turin tries to escape the doom set upon him and in doing so ensnares friends and family in the evil plots and designs of Morgoth. For the avid Tolkien reader, The Children Of Hurin adds yet more detail and substance to J. R. R. Tolkien¿s creation. The same stunning and descriptive language used in both the Lord Of The Rings and The Silmarillion invests the reader in the tale. The Children Of Hurin is not an easy book to read, but like Beowulf or Le Morte d¿ Arthur it is well worth the effort. It is rare to find such mythic and compelling work among the flotsam and jetsam of current fantasy writings. For those who love the ¿old¿ tales, or for those who love mythology, The Children Of Hurin is a must read. Quill says: Christopher Tolkien (J. R. R. Tolkien¿s son) has brilliantly edited, compiled and presented his late father¿s unfinished works. One can only hope that there are more gems yet to be mined from that source!
RM_Luthcke More than 1 year ago
After reading the hobbit and lord of the rings a lot of people seem not to read anymore Tolkien. This was quite an amazing book really, In the first few pages they hit you with a lot of information, but don't stop reading try to understand as best you can, It will get easier. I loved the entire storyline, I enjoyed the characters of this book quite a lot, that should be noted. Lastly, the deluxe edition has been quite a nice addition to my little library, looks simple yet just looks so awesome. It has Awesome illistrations and sketches. The fold out map in the back really helps you to know whats going on and where, and the little dictionary in the back definitely helps you to understand the book. I would highly recommend this book, especially if you already enjoy Tolkien books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It reminded me much of a Greek tragedy. Some people dislike the archaic style, but I for one loved it. It is now one of my favorite books. The characters, especially Turin, were deep and complex. It is hard at first to distinguish his actions, but you must remember his curse.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an outstanding book. However, it also has to be about the most depressing story I have ever read. Nonetheless, it kept me so engrossed that I couldn't put the book down. If you liked the Simarillian, you will LOVE this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i love this book! i think that everyone should read it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ok I absolutely loved this book. It was constantly entertaining. It did have its slow points but over all I loved this book. It rose above my expectations with flying colors. Read it!
SearchingforGoodBooks More than 1 year ago
I got a little skeptical when I saw this title. Another book by Tolkien? I assumed it was another loose collection of tales. But I love Lord of The Rings so I decided to read it. I was blown away, instead of a loose collection of tales, this is a tightly-focused, haunting, tale. Tolkien really elevated his style for this novel. It is a moving tale, a tale that you wished turned out differently because you are so invested in the characters. It has a surprise/Shakespearean ending. I put this in my list of top five novels. In the short time I have owned I have reread at least twice. Buy this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I recently finishedLOTR, and they were just as good as this! Some parts got confusing, but other than that I loved it!
Daniel McCormick More than 1 year ago
This is a very grim and gruelling tragedy, fleshing out some of the oft-referenced legends from the ancient past of middle-earth. It has a more novelistic structure and flow than the Silmarillion and various errata, and is comperable to LOTR in terms of readability. However it is unique in Tolkien's work for its darkness and relentless fatalism. This book is definitely a downer. It is almost shockingly bleak.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was an innocent shopper probing the fantasy shelves of my local Barnes & Noble when I saw J.R.R. Tolkien's name in glossy ink and "The Children Of Hurin" inscribed on the spine. His name was on it.. After that, nothing else mattered. I had to buy it. Little did I know that something tremendously dark and terrible lied between the epic, frenzied cover and stygian back. Oh, innocent shopper, beware! Reasons to be wary: 1. Professor Tolkien so beautifully.. I dare not attempt to describe it. Even books revered for their "excellent" writing will seem thin and wanting after reading most ANYTHING by Tolkien.. Especially "The Children of Hurin". 2. It is impossible to read this without crying. Utterly impossible. "The Children of Hurin" was beautifully written with darkness overwhelming each page. Trust me, friend -- you tell yourself you wont cry now, but oh, just you wait. It is, in essence, the perfect tragedy. (Yikes! I know someone else already said that, but it's so true.) Side note: people have mentioned that this is more of a sixteen + older sort of book, but I wouldn't discourage younger readers from it. I'm fourteen and it is easily one of my favorites.
AmordeDios More than 1 year ago
If you like fantasy or tragedy this book is for you. The tale is beautiful, timeless. As always, Tolkien created another masterpiece.
AVL More than 1 year ago
I will keep this short. For fans of the Tolkien Universe this further exploration and expansion makes an enjoyable read.
falstaff1962 More than 1 year ago
This is no cheery Hobbit tale. The story of Hurin (and really of his son Turin) is dark and complex. It reads a lot like old Greek tragedy and mythology. As a background filler for Lord of the Rings, this book is superb. The only reason I think it avoids a 5 star rating is that like Greek tragedy, it can be unrelentingly grim and moody. One can feel tired after reading it.
Hill_Ravens More than 1 year ago
A disappointing addition to the Tolkien collections. The writing style and rhythm of the story stands up to the rest of the works concerning Middle Earth. However, the detail and intimacy found in other works is missing. I would have liked to learn more of Glaurung in this tale as well as some of the other characters. I found it hard to fall in love with or care about the fates for any of the characters in this book. The ending was no great surprise and had I cared for the characters I might have been moved, but alas I was only happy for the book to end. I am not sure if a revisit to the other books would help me appreciate this one more, or still leave me feeling cheated.
DarthAzard13 More than 1 year ago
If you have already read The Silmarillian, then the story of Hurin and his children will hold little surprises for you, but will still delight. This tale is taken from that larger work and expanded based on additional notes from J.R.R. Tolkien. The story itself is moving, adventurous, and completely enthralling. No reader of fantasy literature would be disappointed with this book (except perhaps that it ends too soon). I have read every middle-earth writing of Tolkien and find his older tales (such as this one) richer in detail, more epic in scope, and utterly more tragic then his more widely read LOTR and Hobbit stories. Read this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Prior to reading the Children of Hurin, I had emersed myself in the Third Age of Middle-Earth. Yes, I had read the Silmarillion. But to me, Middle-Earth was the Lord of the Rings. The Children of Hurin changed my perspective. This wonderful edition, with beautiful illustrations by Alan Lee, belongs in the collection of any Tolkien aficionado. Well worth the price.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OriginalMATTHEW More than 1 year ago
A very pleasant read. Closer to LotR in substance but closer to the Silmarillion in style I thought. Worth the money and the time for sure.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
By peter jackson or guillermo del toro or possibley make them both produce the film but come on please make one before i die the simallion untold stories and he children of hurin
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A sad read, but a very good one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I am a huge lotr fan but i had a hard time reading the silmarillion. The story of hurin, morwen, turin neinor, and everybody else told in story format was a lot easier to read than the turin chapter in the silmarillion. The story is so sad because all those that hurin loved are basically doomed to misery by morgoth. But you cant help hoping that they will somehow escape their fate and live a happy life like they deserve. Even though turin is a stubborn jerk at times i couldnt help but feel sorry for him. He more than pays for his bad choices. The ending is heartbreaking but powerful. all in all a must have for lotr fanatics and a wonderful tale from middle earths history!! - a teenage girl who eagerly awaits the third hobbit movie. Less than three months to go...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago